Enriched in-store appointment: a recipe for success in luxury retail

While the coronavirus outbreak is still underway, brands are trying to adapt to the “new normal”. Traffic in boutiques is particularly affected by the current context: social distancing, systematic disinfection, fewer (and fearful) visitors – yet it remains a major channel for the luxury industry.

Now more than ever, an enriched in-store appointment system appears to be an efficient approach to ensure the health of visitors while still maintaining a high-quality service. In this series of two articles, we are revealing all the details behind this concept.

Boutique experience remains of the essence of the luxury industry

Online shopping is all the rage in the luxury industry. Last year, it accounted for 34 per cent in China and grew by 10 per cent, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), remaining the fastest-growing channel. The significant role played by a digital presence has been well proven, whether it be advanced features on websites, influencers marketing, “unboxing” or social media posts. Brands stretch their imagination to create an authentic, customer-centric experience online. 

Yet, brick-and-mortar stores remain at the heart of the strategy designed by traditional luxury brands. Even more surprising, pure players are opening physical stores, just like Glossier and Away. Many reasons can be cited to explain this trend. Luxury customers remain attached to the personalised service provided by a human. They appreciate the staff expertise, the personalised recommendations, reassurance and care they can get. The tactile experience is not to be minimised either. 

The Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed the relationship between customers and brick-and-mortar stores. The latter had to adapt operations that had remained unchanged for years to conform to health and safety regulations (systematic disinfection of any surfaces, social distancing, mask-wearing) while still striving to meet customer expectations.

Under this new context, brands must reinvent the in-store experience to ensure safety, minimise constraints, motivate boutique visits and stand out from the competition. Customers are still expecting to feel special and valued, whether they’re shopping for a luxurious car or a new watch strap. Luxury players can do so by providing a tailored one-to-one experience via an enriched in-store appointment system.

How can an enriched in-store appointment system help face the Covid-19 recession?
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